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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 8 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

For myself, I acknowledge the enormous support I received from my wife, Robyn; from my children, Matthew, Christopher, Michael and Anna; and from my parents-in-law, Dorothy and Gordon Poyser, who I am very pleased are here today.

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Chief Minister.

Leader of the Opposition

MR SPEAKER: Under standing order 5A, the Leader of the Opposition shall be the leader of the largest non-government party, with the consent of that member. As Mr Humphries, as leader of the Liberal Party, is the leader of the largest non-government party, I now seek his consent to being Leader of the Opposition.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I give my consent to being Leader of the Opposition and ask for leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, thank you. First of all, can I warmly congratulate you on your election as Speaker of the Assembly. I look forward to working with you over the next three years.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Stanhope, the new ACT Chief Minister. He is the fifth ACT Chief Minister, or sixth if one counts Ms Follett twice, which one might be entitled to do. Mr Stanhope has led the ALP to a comprehensive election victory and has a mandate to govern for the next three years. He has a large team, enriched at last by some women members. I would suggest to him that he use that team wisely to govern for the entire ACT community.

Mr Speaker, I lead the party which, despite increasing the number of seats it holds in this place, suffered a significant setback at the recent election. It is clear to me and to all my team that that is so. Although it is difficult to diagnose those things at this stage, I think that is partly the product of spending nearly seven years in office and partly the product of losing touch with elements of the electorate. We are all conscious of the need to work to restore a firm sense of what the ACT electorate expects of us and how we can offer a practical vision of maintaining Canberra as the special place we all know it to be.

My party will need to make the time and the effort to go back into the community and talk to ordinary Canberrans-not just interest groups, important as they are, but to ordinary Canberrans. We will also need to revitalise the role of opposition. We are not in the business, as an opposition, of opposing for the sake of opposing. Where appropriate, shadow ministers will suggest alternatives to the actions being taken by government.

Despite leading the largest opposition since self-government, we will not seek to disrupt the work of government by incessant motions of censure or no confidence. There were no fewer than eight such motions in the life of the last Assembly. Except in the most

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